ANC members don't accept democracy – Mmusi Maimane

DA leader wants to know what action will be taken against perpetrators of attacks during council meetings

If you don’t accept election outcomes, you don’t accept democracy

28 October 2016

Yesterday, in coordinated attacks on metro council meetings in Johannesburg, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay, the ANC demonstrated that they have nothing left to offer. Their disgraceful, violent conduct proved that they do not have the discipline and moral integrity to participate in our democracy.

Their actions in these council meetings ranged from walk-outs and disruptions in Johannesburg to violent breaching of the council chambers by SAMWU members in Tshwane. But the most serious attack occurred in Nelson Mandela Bay, where ANC councillors assaulted DA councillors with heavy glass water jugs, smashing them in the faces of DA members. Two members of the council were hospitalised after this attack, Cllr Rano Kayser with a serious head wound.

I have today written to the Secretary General of the ANC, Gwede Mantashe, demanding an explanation for what took place yesterday. As a leader of the ANC, he owes the injured councillors, the affected DA caucuses and the country an apology. He also owes us an assurance that attacks like these will neverhappen again in our democracy. Finally, we demand to know from him what action will be taken against the perpetrators of these attacks.

The images of Cllr Kayser and Cllr Banga, dazed and drenched in blood, do not belong in a democracy. He and his colleagues were simply doing their jobs, trying to work through the council’s business of the day. It is totally unacceptable that they should be subjected to this kind of brutal violence for trying to serve the people of Nelson Mandela Bay.

The most fundamental principle of any democracy is that those who participate in it, accept the results. Once you agree to the rules and the process, you commit to abide by the outcome. Any party not willing to make this commitment cannot claim to be a democratic organisation.

What happened yesterday, simultaneously across three different metros, was nothing less than a coordinated attack on our democracy by the party that just lost power in these metros. There was nothing coincidental about these three incidents, and this certainly was not a case of rogue councillors and supporters. 

If the ANC is only willing to accept an election result when it goes their way, then they have proven that the demise of their century-old movement is near completion. Perhaps the one positive thing to have come out of yesterday’s attacks is that South Africans can have no more doubt about the ANC’s ability to lead this country into an era of peace, stability and growth.

The DA will not be deterred by these attacks. We will not be intimidated or threatened by the violence of the ANC. We have a crucial job to do in these metros, where we are busy undoing years of ANC mismanagement and neglect. Yesterday’s violence did not prevent us from working through every agenda item, with a few outstanding items being concluded today in Johannesburg and Tshwane.

These cities, and our country, can only work if our democracy works. I call on all South Africans to turn their backs on parties that have no interest in peace, stability and democracy.

Issued by Mabine Seabe, Spokesperson to the DA Leader, 28 October 2016